Israeli Victims of Belgium Attack Identified

Tel Aviv couple familiar with Europe, were 'intelligent and discreet,' neighbors say; other victims French and Belgian.

Tova Dvorin , | updated: 2:26 PM

Memorial candles (illustrative)
Memorial candles (illustrative)

The two Israelis killed in shooting attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, Belgium are Emanuel and Miriam Riba, 54 and 53, from Tel Aviv, authorities announced Sunday. The couple leaves behind two daughters, ages 15 and 16, according to Yediot Aharonot

The Israeli Embassy in Brussels has contacted local police to ensure that the bodies will be flown to Israel for the funeral. 

Neighbors were shocked to hear the news.

"She is a very educated woman and he was always very discreet," a neighbor told Channel 2 Sunday. "Even though they were on shlichut [Israel advocacy mission - ed.] to Germany for several years, and only returned recently, we always had a great relationship - they always had a smile on their face." 

The Ribas were in Berlin on shlichut from 2007-2011, neighbors told Yediot Aharonot. Emmanuel worked in the Public Security Ministry since returning from Germany. 

Another neighbor said he was shocked.

"They were on shlichut but never thought that something like this could happen - we talked every few days," he said. "They were an intelligent, charming couple and it's hard to understand that this could happen to them." 

The other victims included a French woman, 23, who was killed at the scene; another shooting victim, in critical condition, is Belgian. 

A gunman entered Brussels' Jewish Museum Saturday afternoon and began shooting, killing three people - including the two Israelis - and critically wounding another.

national manhunt has begun for the shooter; local police are still looking for possible suspects, official announced Sunday morning, despite at least one arrest shortly after the shooting. 

It was the first fatal attack on a Jewish center since the early 1980s in Belgium, home to some 40,000 Jews. Roughly half live in Brussels and the remainder in Antwerp.